It’s been a minute!

I decided to skip the CROF Weekly Update last week to avoid blowing up your feed with posts.

Plus, my article “My first USAPL meet” was very much informative of what was going on with me.


This week I am going to walk you through my first “de-load” experience, my approach to training after the meet and fill you in on where I currently sit in preparation for my next NPC bikini competition in April.

I’m also excited to share the fitness reads this week– lots of great, helpful reads on the list.

“Exercise of the week” is back this week and I will show you some mobility drills, squat drills and even a new push-up trick to help you finally knock out that strong push-up in 2016!

But first, before anything else, check out the Client Spotlight which has been moved to the beginning of the blog this week because I don’t want you to miss out on not one but *seven* incredible progress updates from my #daretoeat clients.

Some of the updates are “end of 12 week” progress updates and others are short-term updates. All are inspiring and true examples of what hard work and determination can do!

Look out for an article on fat loss this coming week as well as a guest article about strength training from my friend Kevin Mullins this month!


Client Spotlight(s):

Meet Emma:

emma week 1-8 no face

Emma has done remarkably well. Here is her progress update from week 1 (on the right) to week 8 (on the left). She is what most would call a “social butterfly” and often deals with the challenge of being social (around drinks and snack) and staying within her guidelines. What works best for her is keep calories lower during the week and then increase them on the weekends. She works out two to three times most weeks. I can’t wait to see how she looks at the end of her 12-Week #Daretoeat Program! Woo, Emma!

Meet Sara:

Sara 1-6 back

Sara has lost 16 pounds in six weeks. Not kidding. She has picked up TRX training, continues to run a few times a week and also tumbles (gymnastics). One really cool moment for her so far during this program was when she realized she could spin her ring around her finger. What was once super tight was now loose on her!!! As you can see above, her “week 1” photo is on the left, “week 4” in the center and “week 6” on the right.

This weekend before she sent her “week 8” photos, she informed me that for the first time in month she was able to wear jeans again; and not only did she wear them but she had to keep pulling them up throughout the day because they were loose on her!

She is more energetic and able to have wine and treats here and there, so long as she fits it into her calories and keeps protein sufficient. Go, Sara!

Meet Victoria:

Victoria 1-12 back

Victoria wrapped up her 12-Week #Daretoeat program last Monday. All in all she lost a grand total of 12 pounds! She is moving into a new phase of leaning out/toning while simultaneously building strength. She did Barry’s Bootcamp during the first half of her program and has been doing other group fitness classes outside of Boston (which are easier for her to get to) at least three times a week. During her program she traveled for family, for fun and for work. She checked in daily and never missed a beat. I am so proud of you, Victoria!!!!!

Meet Krystina:

Krystine week 1-6

Krystina is a great example of what you can get done in six weeks if you set your mind to it! Beyond the obvious physical changes she has achieved, her mindset has changed dramatically. The other day she told me she can’t believe how well she can perform and thrive on fewer calories. She hasn’t felt hungry very often, the proteins keep her feeling full. She feels that before #daretoeat, she was simply eating more because she wasn’t so sure exactly how much she should be eating. She has had Bloody Mary’s while traveling. She has enjoyed sweet potatoes. She rocks Barry’s Double floor, sprints at least once a week and she does it all with a smile. Go, Krystina!!! Six weeks down, six to go!

Meet Lindsay:

Lindsay 1 12


Lindsay is very active. She lifts heavy and coaches fitness classes on the side of her full time job. Motivated by her upcoming wedding, she wanted a different perspective on what macros to work on and how much to eat with all of her training. She was incredibly consistent and managed to lose 12 pounds in 12 weeks!!! She did *not* give up alcohol. She worked on everything in moderation. She and I both anticipated a 6 pound loss but she lost 12! Woo! Go, Lindsay!!!!!

Meet Kendall (one year later…):

Kendall incorporated strength training into her regime two times a week and saw huge results in combination with nutrition.

Kendall is my motivation! I am so stinking proud of this girl. She is the client I have written about before– she’s the one who told me her goal was “to not want to cry in the health food section of the grocery store.” She wanted to learn how to food prep and feed herself well. For her, if fat loss was a side effect, great; but it was not the goal. She lost about 8 pounds during her 12-week program (125 –> 117-118)

But she didn’t stop there. A year to the day after she finished her #Daretoeat Program Kendall sent me this photo. Due to her CONSISTENT EFFORT OVER TIME, she went from 118 to 114 pounds in a year, post #Daretoeat Program

Go, Kendall!!!!

kendall one year later

Meet Kellie: 

Kellie has made textbook progress each week. She has lost .5 pounds every week. She trains regularly mixing it up with bootcamp classes, body pump, spinning and more. She hits her numbers like a robot and never feels deprived. Here are her very first, “week 4” progress photos! Go, Kellie! I cannot wait to reveal her final photos! (Se is currently 6 pounds down from the photos below).

Kellie week 1-4



It’s been two weeks since I last posted about my training. Last CROF Update I shared my training logs at the the “2-weeks-out” from my powerlifting meet.

Two weeks out I hit a 200-pound back squat and a 110 pound bench press and felt confident about my upcoming meet.

Then came the de-load week, which I haven’t written about…

What the heck is a “de-load” week?

You tell me!

Seriously. I had read about de-loads and whether they worked or not, how to do them “the right way” etc.

But you never really know what’s going to work for you until you go for it. (#senditin2016)

This week felt very akin to my first “peak week” in the bikini prep. I was kind of winging it.

IMG_5375 (1)

Abs during peak week came early and disappeared by stage time…. You never know how to do it until you try, mess up, and try again.

Going into the powerlifting “de-load week” I knew five things:

  1. I am SUPER active, so going completely cold turkey and doing ZERO activity wouldn’t work so well for me.
  2. Regardless of having a meet, it would’ve been a lighter week since two weeks-out I went super heavy with my lifts; I alternate between heavy sets of 3 and lighter loads every other week with each lift. All were on target to be heavy for the week of the meet.
  3. I was scared to omit deadlifting; but I promised myself I would take it out.
  4. I had to take one spin class and teach two classes so that would be my main activity.
  5. I had to work on decreasing calorie so the cut the night before wasn’t miserable.

De-load means several things to different people.

Some see it as backing off slightly from heavy loads, but still training. Some see it as doing very little in general when it comes to exercise. Some see it as a chance to do mobility work only.

I knew I’d be coloring outside the lines, yet again.


Here’s a quick summary of my de-load week’s activities and then I’ll talk you through my first week back in the gym post-meet:

  1. Sunday: Hip thrust PR: 300 pounds for two reps; glute pump work with banded hip thrusts, 54 bodyweight chin-ups and CycLean class. (last active, heavy day)
  2. Monday: Cyc-lift class with Keoni
  3. Tuesday: taught Cyc class
  4. Wednesday: rest
  5. Thursday: light, paused squats, farmer carries, bodyweight hypers, frog pumps, 8 sets of three chin-ups, single-arm presses for sets of 8 (light weight).
  6. Friday: rest
  7. Saturday: mobility class at Rebell Strength and Conditioning

The highlight of my meet: deadlifting 275 pounds:

Last week’s training post meet:

Monday: rest.

I felt like I got hit by a truck after the meet. My “active rest” was writing… writing a lot! Still working very arduously on my book, “Dare to Move.”

Tuesday: Cyc + front squats + push-presses

Trying to front squat 115 felt like front squatting 200. Everything felt heavy *except* push-presses. I was able to get 4×4 with 100 pounds.

When it came to bodyweight chin-ups, my back was so wrecked from the heavy deadlifts Sunday that I only did 3 sets of 7 (in comparison with 9 sets of 6 the week before).

I also added in this fun variation of bulgarian split squats:

Wednesday: Dumbbell chest and back day (at home gym)

Try this if you need something fresh for chest and back:

Circuit 1:

  • Heavy chest press 4×4
  • rest

Circuit 2 (three rounds):

  • Dumbbell single-pulls from the bench (almost like a rack pull; put the two heavy AF dumbbells back on the bench in-between pulls) and then go right into 4 alternating sumo rows per side.
  • single-arm chest press for 8 reps
  • pull-over for 12 reps
  • single-arm chest press for 8 reps

Final circuit (three rounds):

  • chin-ups (I did 12.5 pounds in-between my legs) 3 reps
  • single-arm face pull (use cable machine) 12 reps
  • single-arm bicep curl to single arm shoulder press (6 reps and 12 reps)
  • paused push-up for 5 reps

Thursday: Barbell hip-thrust, banded squats, paused squats (light weight) weighted chin-ups

This was all one HUGE circuit because I was short on time.

After I warmed up the hip-thrust with a set of 8 reps at 135 pounds I began four rounds of the following:

  • 6 hip thrusts with 205 pounds
  • 8 banded goblet squat (35 pounds)
  • 16 lateral band walks
  • 6 paused squats, no belt, 125 pounds
  • 2 chin ups with 35 pound KB (5 sec rest in-between chins) (only 3 sets of these)
  • banded deadlifts

***this is a great drill to practice prying the knees out. For me, as the loads get heavier, my knees tend to roll inward and the pressure that places on my knees does not feel good. In order to work on keeping knees out, using a band to put light pressure on them is a perfect stimulus to remind the knees to drive outward while you squat. Adding this band makes me hella sore the next day!

***There was no need to deadlift heavy after hitting a personal record of 275 last weekend. I practiced hip extension and the hinge pattern with light resistance, via a jump band. Try these when you want to work on seeing up your hinge!

Friday: Barry’s Bootcamp Total Body with Dustin Martin 

Saturday: rest


I am SO excited about my nutrition this past week.

After a week of cutting weight (eating mainly protein to drop water weight for weigh-ins) it is so nice to eat ALL the veggies and fruits this week!

As of today I am 9 weeks out from my next NPC bikini competition and my new suit came last week, at the 10 weeks out marker.


This was taken 10 weeks out.

When I first put it on, it really motivated me to step it up with my nutrition, because it was tight…. but then I remembered that this is how it’s supposed to be 10 weeks out!

Walking around “stage-ready” all year would not be normal nor healthy.

To keep myself sane I compared my 10 weeks-out photos from last fall to this season’s 10 weeks-out photos and the good news is:


I can see some major progress. And, from last fall’s starting point I brought a great package (2nd place!!) to the stage I am confident it will go even better this round.

I’m excited because I have more freedom in my training.

As exciting as it is to lift super heavy things, I really enjoy training certain body parts and watching the change. I also like the dieting part.

This week I made ground chicken and crushed tomato boxes. After stir frying the chicken I simply add 1 to 2 cals of crushed tomatoes and seasoning and then put it into four containers. (One pound of chicken into 4 containers eliminates the needs to weigh anything). When I ate them I added ketchup and sauteed mushroom.

I also ate baked tilapia with a mix of chopped onions, yellow, red, and green peppers on top of the fish to add crispiness and flavor. (I bought pre-chopped peppers because I am lazy).

I ate and apple a day and a bowl of broccoli a day.

As always I ate my oats and egg beaters with syrup, and a shake with tons of spinach.

I have a groove with this and I love my meals <3.

What I’m Reading:

  1. What is reverse dieting (a comprehensive guide)  via  On the Regimen
  2. 5 Ways to conquer hunger while dieting via Smoot Fitness
  3. When Fitspiration turns X-Rated via Jen Sinkler
  4. Avoiding Cardio Could be Holding You Back via Strength Theory
  5. Naked Manifesto: Why I Post Nudes Online via Play Boy
  6. Top 3 Female Push-Up Mistakes via Tony Gentilcore
  7. Flexible Dieting: Is it right for you? via Eric Bach
  8. One Method for Guaranteed Weight Loss via Kevin Mullins
  9. My first USPL meet via Crossroads of Fitness

Exercise Spotlight(s):

Eccentric Push-Up Drill:

Many of my clients have issues with the push-up. Several of them can chest press or bench press heavy loads, but doing a push-up from a plank position really challenges them.

Besides doing 1.5 push-ups from a bench, or paused push-ups from a bench, one of my favorite drills is grooving the eccentric part of a push-up from a plank using blocks.

After the lower down (eccentric), the knees are used to help push up!

This drill is ideal for clients who can do 2-3 plank push-ups from a taller bench.

Obviously moving down to these low blocks is quite a jump from a tall workout bench, so to work their way into full plank push-ups with blocks, I have them do the eccentric (keeping abs tight) into a knee-assisted push-up.

My client Carol crushed these last week. She said they really boosted her confidence!

Single-arm face-pull:

I began doing these two weeks ago when my shoulder was feeling weird. Particularly my left shoulder felt off so I tried grooving this movement with just the left side.

I found it to be quite challenging while forcing me to brace my abs much more than I do with a regular face-pull.

My client Carol tends to be tight in her right shoulder more than her left and these helped her as well.

Make sure you decrease the amount of weight you use. Do not plan to use the same resistance as you would use for a regular face-pull, even though we tend to be stronger unilaterally then bilaterally.

Give it a go in-between the eccentric push-up drill and sets of 6 to 8 bicep curls towards the end of an upper body workout!

Mobility Flow:

On Chest, Back and Abs day at Barry’s this week we worked on this mobility drill at the start of class to open up the shoulders, create space in-between the hips, engage the core muscles and bring awareness to our breathing.

Yoga Flow:

Here is *almost* the same flow I posted on instagram two weeks ago during my de-load week. I filmed the slow version and removed the forearm stand.

Try it!

Here is the fast version:



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